It happens to be one of those gray days here in Boston today and I can’t say I mind it one bit. With a busy day ahead, I decided it was the perfect occasion to get in a few miles before the city wakes up. Standing in the courtyard outside my apartment building, I took in the fresh air and memories flew into my head of High School Cross Country camp. Running twice a day may seem crazy to some but there is nothing better than enjoying two of what I consider to be the best times of the day, early morning and early evening. My former coach would pile us into a van and head out to a park with wood chip trails and dew still on the grass. I missed the paths and tree lined dirt roads of the Midwest. I missed my best friends who I told my deepest and darkest secrets as we ran mile after mile. I wondered how I could make it all come back or maybe just recreate it to the best of my ability. Although it is only August, I could smell the Fall approaching as I ran along the Charles river at seven this morning. The drizzle began as I finished my the last few strides and I remembered something one of my best friends and high school teammate said to me.
“The perfect weather for running is when it looks like it might rain.”
Early September will bring about a change in my current environment. Moving outside of the inner city of Boston, I will be going back to the suburbs for my last few months of college. Of course I will be returning to the city for class everyday but still I can’t help but feel a small amount of excitement for the parks, paths, trees, dirt roads, and early morning runs.
Being injury prone since my young start, I was eager to buy this book about the famous FIRST approach to training. Published my Runner’s World, it had to be a respectable purchase and it has made me think about my health and fitness in a new light. Recommended workouts in the book insist on quality over quantity to insure you steer clear of overuse injuries by focusing on less runs a week. My injury of choice (not really choice, but you know what I mean) is the shin splint, which develops into stress fractures. It can be caused by too much too fast which I assumed was the first reason they started about eight years ago, but because they have come back over and over again, I know it is just something I will be dealing with forever. Knock on wood right now though, I am safe so far this summer. One trick I learned from a former captain is to use a dixie cup (not exactly green friendly, I know). Fill up a few cups with water and pop them in the freezer. After a tough workout, rub the mouth of the ice filled cups up and down your shins and as they melt, peel away the sides. The way the ice forms to your leg is great and I have relied on it for injury prevention. Trust me, it feels much better than an ice bath.
The post run fuel was a half a small tortilla with almond butter, half a banana, flax meal, and a small amount of agave nectar. My advice is to think of food before and after your run as fuel. The ideal ratio of carbs to protein after an endurance sport is four to one. Maybe I don’t always stick with it but I try my best. Honestly, the best way to reach this ratio is with yogurt (try these) or milk (almond for me), cereal (with protein and fiber-KASHI), topped with berries and half a banana. The muscles need this to recover properly and you are doing more harm than good if you skip a post workout snack. These are just some tips that have proven to work with me over the years.
Stretching in the gym this morning, I caught Matt Lauer talking about Michael Phelps’ 200 meter freestyle win last night. In a short interview after the swim, he said he didn’t feel that well but that definitely didn’t hinder his performance. What an amazing athlete he is.
One last photo to close with is another to prepare for my Martha’s Vineyard arrival on Friday…
Here I am sailing on Lake Tashmoo with two of my cousins, Tom and Dinah. Early High School I wore this red bikini all summer. I wonder where it is…